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View of the hall across the River Ribble

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Waddow Hall is a 17th-century Grade II listed building[1] within a 178-acre (72 ha) estate near Clitheroe, Lancashire. The property was acquired by the Girl Guide Association in 1927, since when it has served as a conference and activity centre.

Local legend has it that the nearby River Ribble is haunted by the evil spirit of a woman who was a domestic servant at the hall some time in the 18th century, Peg O’NellMalevolent water spirit of the River Ribble in Lancashire, England. . She supposedly returns to the house every seven years to claim a life in return for her own having been taken in an accident.[2]


The Waddow estate and the Parish of Waddington were managed by Roger de Tempest of Bracewell, Lord of Waddington in 1267. Waddow Hall was built by the Tempest family during the early 17th century,[3] and they remained in occupation until 1657, when the extravagance of Richard Tempest resulted in his incarceration and death in a debtor’s prison. The hall was then acquired by Christopher Wilkinson, out-bailiff for Clitheroe, who in turn bequeathed it to his nephew John Weddell; Thomas Weddell, the last of his line to live in the hall, is responsible for the building’s present-day Georgian frontage. Following Thomas’s death in 1785 and that of his wife Jane some time later, the property passed to the Ramsden family, distant relatives of the Weddells.[4]

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Panel painting c. 1690, showing the relatively small original house

During the Second World War the estate was lent to Lancashire County Council, and served as a children’s isolation hospital.[5] The Girl Guides Association initially rented the estate from 1927 before purchasing the property for use as a conference and activity centre the following year.[5]